The Untold Truth Of Fearne Cotton

Fearne Cotton has been a staple of the entertainment industry for decades now. Cotton got her start at just 15 years old when she won a competition to snag a presenting gig on the early morning kids' show "The Disney Club," per Good Housekeeping. She transformed that teenage gig into a lasting career in the entertainment industry, lending her skills as a presenter to a huge variety of television programs, weighing in on everything from interior design to pop music (via Hello! Magazine).

While Cotton could have continued on as she was for years to come, she struggled a bit to find her place in the changing entertainment industry and ended up parting ways from BBC due to increasing pressure, as NME reported. Instead, she began to focus on another area of her life where she found passion and creativity — food and wellness.

Fans may be used to Cotton sharing her expertise on music, but she is also a published author of several self-help books, and also kicked off another project in 2018 in which she could share her thoughts and perspective with her audience in an entirely different medium, a podcast entitled "Happy Place" (via The Guardian). 

Cotton has released three cookbooks

Many celebrities opt to gather their favorite recipes or work with a collaborator to release a single cookbook that their fans can use in their culinary adventures. Cotton jumped into the food world with both feet and has released a steady stream of cookbooks, per Cotton's website. Her first, "Cook Happy, Cook Healthy," was released in 2016, and featured easy, quick, and healthy recipes packed with real ingredients, aiming to be a resource for busy cooks who want to eat clean (via The Bookseller). In a similar vein, she released her second cookbook, "Cook. Eat. Love.," which likewise shared recipes with a healthy twist.

Cotton's next release, titled "Happy Vegan: Easy Plant-Based Recipes to Make the Whole Family," was published in 2019 and took plant-based cooking to a whole new level, according to Goodreads. The overall focus remained the same, with recipes targeting a busy home cook who wants to find healthy dishes to make. From breakfast fare to party treats to decadent vegan desserts, the book has plenty of options.

Cotton wasn't actually a vegan when her book was released, just someone who primarily ate plant-based and incorporated items like eggs and dairy sparingly. It seems she's had a change of heart since then. As Plant Based News reports, Cotton admitted in an episode of "The Chickpeeps Podcast" that she slowly made the transition, finally making the choice to drop eggs from her diet and go vegan.

Fearne Cotton credits cooking as a way to improve mental health

The shift from the entertainment industry to the culinary world may seem like a strange leap, but Cotton credits her love of food and getting in the kitchen with a lot of major changes in her life. It even served as a tool when she faced mental health issues. In a 2017 conversation with Daily Mail Weekend Magazine, Cotton said that after the birth of her first child, she was diagnosed with clinical depression. Cooking and writing down her recipes was something she found helpful during that period in her life. When she recognized that perhaps the television and radio industry wasn't quite the right place for her in the next chapter in her life, she ended up finding a new career path through cooking and recipe development.

The particular way she began eating was also crucial to her mental health. As she told the publication, "I want to feel vibrant and my diet seems to be the simplest way of doing that." She made the decision to cut out sugar and caffeine, and the recipes in all her cookbooks subscribe to the same overall ethos and way of eating.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Cotton loved to bake since she was a child

Given Cotton's penchant for cutting sugar out of her diet, you might assume that baked goods were completely off the table (via The Daily Mail Weekend Reader). It turns out, that couldn't be further from the truth — her cookbooks contain plenty of sweet treats, and baking may have been her first foray into the culinary world, decades before she penned her first cookbook.

Hello! Magazine reported in 2018 that Cotton shared a throwback snap on her Instagram account that featured her younger self, complete with blond bangs and a gingham dress. The photo was captured in the kitchen, with an oven visible in the background, and Cotton was holding a small piece of paper with "we have made a cake" scrawled across it. She also referenced her baking roots while chatting with The Independent, commenting that some of her favorite childhood memories consisted of baking jam tarts with her grandmother when she was little.

Cotton has a complex relationship with food

It's certainly not easy to be on television screens across the country as a teenager, as Cotton knows well. According to Daily Mail, she got her start in the entertainment industry during her teenage years, and the experience of presenting and appearing on the screen next to pop stars took a toll on her mental health and body image. By the age of 19, Cotton had an eating disorder. As she told The Mirror, "I was a normal kid going to a state school in London and the next minute I was sat next to these tiny, tiny pop stars in a TV studio going, 'I don't look like that, I don't fit in here.'" The star faced bulimia, which lasted through her 20s (via The Independent).

Her pursuit of a career in the culinary world in her 30s really helped her overcome the illness. On the podcast "How to Fail with Elizabeth Day," Cotton commented, "I denied myself the pleasure of cooking food for so long, that it's now become my everything. It's something I'm so passionate about."

Cotton doesn't believe in clean eating

Since Cotton's recipes all have a healthy twist, it may seem like a logical conclusion that the radio host and television presenter-turned-cookbook author is all about clean eating. When The Independent asked about her opinion on clean eating and restrictive diets, she had some strong thoughts. She explained that there's no single definition for clean eating, so the whole term was fairly confusing. Her approach is a lot more flexible. "Do whatever makes you feel good and if you know it works for you then go for it," Cotton told The Independent. "If you don't want to eat wheat, or meat, or dairy then that's up to you."

She's also opposed to the finger-pointing that can come along with certain diets, stating, "that's just a ridiculous way to live." So, though she may be the author of a vegan cookbook and now a vegan herself, it seems she's certainly not the type to sneer at anyone who chooses to enjoy a plate of scrambled eggs or a juicy steak.

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, or know someone who is, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).